Feeds

Capra classic 'commie propaganda'

FBI saw red over It's a Wonderful Life

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The all-American film classic It's a Wonderful Life was slammed as communist propaganda by US government officials in the 1940s.

Frank Capra’s masterwork, regularly voted one of the best film’s ever made, whose uplifting message that no life is insignificant and that family and friendship are the true measures of a man’s wealth, was considered anti-capitalist by FBI officials.

In a memo, "Communist Infiltration Of The Motion Picture Industry", officials took issue with the portrayal of capitalist antagonist Mr Potter as a Scrooge-like figure. This cast wealth and free enterprise in a negative light while promoting the triumph of the common man, a suspiciously pinko notion.

In the film, an angel helps a despairing businessman (George Bailey played by Jimmy Stewart) on the verge of suicide to realise the value of his life by showing him how awful his small town would have been if he never existed. George sacrifices his dreams of adventure for the good of all around him, frustrating the machinations of evil millionaire Potter in the process, until a misplaced loan threatens Bailey's ruin.

The memo ignores the role of businessman Sam Wainwright, who comes forward with the money that saves principal character George Bailey at the end of the film, instead preferring to argue that the film "wouldn’t have suffered at all" if Potter had been made into a more sympathetic character.

Such a notion may seem ridiculous today but the memo is a product of its times, written in the year in which the House Unamerican Activities Committee (HUAC) began investigating suspected Communist influence in Hollywood. These accusations blighted the careers of many artists, though not that of Capra. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Holy vintage vehicles! Earliest known official Batmobile goes on sale
Riddle me this: are you prepared to pay US$180k?
Criticism of Uber's journo-Data Analytics plan is an Attack on DIGITAL FREEDOM
First they came for Emil – and I'm damn well SPEAKING OUT
'Open source just means big companies can steal your code.' O RLY?
Plus: Flame of the Week returns, for one night only!
'It is comforting to know where your data centres are.' UK.GOV does NOT
Plus: Anons are 'wannabes', KKK says, before being pwned
NEWSFLASH: It's time to ditch dullard Facebook chums
Everything hot in tech, courtesy of avian anchor Regina Eggbert
Hey, you, PHONE-FACE! Kickstarter in-car mobe mount will EMBED your phone into your MUG
Stick it on the steering wheel and wait for the airbag to fire
Bible THUMP: Good Book beats Darwin to most influential tome title
Folio Society crowns fittest of surviving volumes
U wot? Silicon Roundabout set to become Silicon U-BEND
Crap-spouting London upstarts to get permanent road closure
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?